WASHINGTON, August 2, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
Nick Kyrgios has joined fellow Australian Ashleigh Barty, the WTA’s top-ranked player, in opting out of the 2020 US Open for health and safety concerns.
On Saturday night (where it was already Sunday morning in Australia), athlete empowerment brand UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) posted a one minute and 40 second video on Twitter on behalf of Kyrgios, in which the 25-year-old mercurial Aussie read an emotional letter – a plea in which he shared some frank and pointed things about some of his colleagues – explaining his reasons for not coming to play in this year’s US Open:
Let’s take a breath here and remember what’s important which is health and safety as a community.
We can rebuild our sport and the economy but we can never recover lives lost.
I’ve got no problem with the USTA putting on the US Open and if players want to go that’s up to them so long as everyone acts appropriately and acts safely.
No one wants people to keep their jobs more than me. I’m speaking for the guy who works in the restaurant, the cleaners, the locker room attendants.
These are the people that need their jobs back the most and fair play to them. But tennis players, you have to act in the interest of each other and work together. You can’t be dancing on tables, money grabbing your way around Europe, or trying to make a quick buck hosting an exhibition. That’s just so selfish.
Think of the other people for once. That’s what this virus is about. It doesn’t care about your world ranking or how much money you have. Act responsibly.
To those players that have been observing the rules and acting selflessly I say good luck to you. Play at your own risk and I have no problem with that.
I will not be playing this year at the US Open. It hurts me at my core to not be out there in one of sports’ greatest arenas. Arthur Ashe Stadium. But I’m sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost their lives, for all of you.
It’s my decision, like it or not. And those are my reasons.
Sincerely yours, Nick
The 40th-ranked Kyrgios has appeared in three tournaments this season (ATP Cup, Australian Open, Acapulco) and compiled a 6-3 win-loss record. He reached the round of 16 at Melbourne, which included a gut-check five-set victory over Karen Khachanov in the third round that was followed by a four-set loss to Rafael Nadal. He has not participated in any exhibition events since the coronavirus lockdown of the pro tennis tours began in March.
I will not be playing this year at the US Open.
It hurts me at my core…But I’m sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost their lives, for all of you. #SincerelyYours, @NickKyrgios pic.twitter.com/7EecHNU82l
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) August 1, 2020